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3D Metal Printers: German Automakers Continue R&D As Core Technology of Industry 4.0

When additive manufacturing and 3D printers had just appeared, there was excessive hope for their potential. Among them, 3D metal printers that use aluminum or titanium as a material attracted attention as something that could dramatically change the existing automobile production. However, due to problems such as cost and modeling speed, at present, it is limited to production of spare and repair parts, small lot production for super luxury cars, and production of prototypes. However, in Europe, where there are major 3D metal printers, efforts toward mass production continue. VW, Daimler and BMW opened additive manufacturing research centers in 2018 and 2019. With Industry 4.0 in mind, the ultimate goal is to have a 3D printer connected to the cloud to centrally manage operations, share digital design drawings at all sites, and immediately produce on demand.
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